Before reusing the first stage of Falcon 9, is it repainted?

If yes then why?

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    $\begingroup$ They used to repaint them. I'll see if I can find when they stopped repainting them. I think it was when they started using block 5 boosters, but I'm not sure. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 4, 2020 at 14:05

1 Answer 1


No. According to this article it is not even cleaned: https://www.arstechnica.com/science/2018/12/singed-and-sooty-spacexs-falcon-9-rocket-still-looked-brilliant-monday/

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    $\begingroup$ A first stage used 6 times should look really dark, is there any photo? $\endgroup$
    – Joe Jobs
    Commented Nov 2, 2020 at 20:35
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    $\begingroup$ Photos of the 6-flight one are here. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 2, 2020 at 21:58
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    $\begingroup$ I used to have a car like that. I was afraid to wash it because I couldn't be sure what parts were being held on by grime. ;-) $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 3, 2020 at 9:00
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    $\begingroup$ I suspect part of the reason for not cleaning them is to call attention to the fact that they are reusing boosters. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 3, 2020 at 14:17
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    $\begingroup$ @MarkRansom: SpaceX live-streams every single launch, and at every single launch of a re-flown booster, they explicitly show a close-up of the first stage, and they explicitly point out, talk about, and explain that the booster is not cleaned. Also, many YouTubers live-stream SpaceX launches as well, e.g. both NASASpaceflight and the Everyday Astronaut, and both regularly have their own camera crews, and both will typically explicitly point out the fact that the booster is not cleaned during their live streams as well. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 4, 2020 at 5:08

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